Gurshan’s body was found by a council worker in grass in Melbourne’s north on the evening of Thursday, March 4, six hours after he was reported missing from his Lalor home.
Speaking on SBS Radio’s Punjabi program on Thursday his mother, Harpreet Kaur Channa, said she was horrified by her boy’s death.
“You can well imagine what’s going through a mother’s mind who has just lost a child. I don’t know how I feel, I can’t even think about myself,” she said.
Mrs Channa said her son was a happy boy who was developing quickly.
“We just celebrated his third birthday on 21st February. He was so happy that day, so happy.
She said Gurshan loved his adopted home – even though his parents had planned to leave Australia for India the weekend after he disappeared.
Phonecall to grandmother
“Gurshan loved Melbourne. Whenever I asked him about India, he would say ‘I want to stay here’. He got along so well with everyone at home (in Melbourne),” she said.
“[But] my husband couldn’t find a job and life was difficult because I had to study and we didn’t have anywhere to leave Gurshan.
“We decided to go back to India and weren’t thinking of coming back. We had plans for him to begin school and settle back in India.”
Mrs Channa said Gurshan had talked excitedly of their return on the day he died.
“He had called his grandmother [in India], just a few hours before he went missing that day. He’s close to my mother since he’s stayed with them a lot in India, and he said on the phone ‘I’m coming to India in an aeroplane soon.”
And she said the whole family had been deeply shaken by the little boy’s death.
“My husband is putting a strong façade, just to support me.
Gurshan’s father ‘shattered’
“I know he is completely shattered from within, but he is putting up a strong front for my sake. Gurshan was very close to his father… my husband loved him so, so much.”
Gursewak Dhillon, 23, has been charged with manslaughter by criminal negligence.
He appeared briefly in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday and has been remanded in custody to reappear on June 29.
An autopsy has not revealed the cause of death and police are still awaiting the results of toxicology tests.
Dhillon, who shared the Lalor home with Gurshan’s parents and others, allegedly placed Gurshan unconscious but alive in the boot of his car, driving around for at least three hours and dumping the boy without checking if he was still alive.
Police have not said how they believe Gurshan was rendered unconscious.